5 Underrated Queer Romantic Thrillers you MUST read! by Isobel Starling

These Queer Romantic Thrillers are must-reads for any fan of romantic suspense!

[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to welcome author Isobel Starling to the site today. She’s talking all things queer thrillers!]

Some of the best novels I have read in the past few years are LGBT romantic suspense thrillers.  In a world where current affairs are brimming with tales of real-life espionage, love triangles, double-dealing and the powerful getting away with just about anything, the lines between fiction and reality blur, and finding an original thriller with a plot that hasn’t already happened in real life has become harder to pin down.

If you want to read a sharp, brilliantly written thriller, then look no further than to the breadth of unsung talent in the LGBT mystery, romantic suspense, and thrillers genres.  I write an M/M Thriller series, Shatterproof Bond and so I want to celebrate the often overlooked authors who craft LGBTQI Romantic suspense and who have inspired me to aim higher.  I’m not one for formulaic mass-market thrillers where the writers shoo-in a queer character to tick a diversity box. I look for real, and complex queer characters whose orientation is intrinsic to their outlook on the world and how they cope with whatever they face within the story arc.  So, feast your eyes on these tantalizing reads!

Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire

Wiltshire is a gay British author and former soldier.  He began writing Love is a Stranger in secret while he was still on active service, and continued to write when he left the Army and moved to New Zealand.  His books are distinctly British in flavor. This eight book series focuses on the mysterious Sir Nikolas Mikkelsen, a man with a shadowy past who has charmed his way to marry into the Royal Family and secured a top job in the British Secret Service.  Nik’s affair with one of his agents, ex- SAS soldier Ben Rider changes both of their lives. You see, Nikolas Mikkelsen has been living a lie, and it’s a lie so staggering that when it is revealed Ben discovers the man he loves is a very dangerous man indeed—a man whom, if commonsense prevailed, he should not love.  But these men burn together and John Wiltshire’s prose is so lyrical and beautiful.  John Wiltshire is not afraid to take the reader to some very dark places or explore the visceral relationship that blooms between two men who are completely wrong for one another, but also perfect.

Bitter Legacy by Dal MacLean

Dal Maclean writes British police procedural mystery and suspense.  I ate up her nail-biting, captivating debut novel Bitter Legacy.  Detective Sergeant James Henderson is part of the London Metropolitan Police Murder Investigation Team.  The murder of a barrister sees James investigating the insidious world of London’s privileged elite, where men can get away with all kinds of crimes because of their moneyed status.  There he discovers a serial killer who has set out to ensure a sick kind of justice through his body count.  

With Bitter Legacy, we get a novel that is complex, raw, and reads like the best British TV cop series that has yet to be filmed!  The diverse and flawed characters in Bitter Legacy make the reader furious, and yet the story ensures we are still totally hooked.

Where Death Meets the Devil by L.J. Hayward

This is another refreshing debut novel that knocked me for six.  Where Death Meets the Devil is set among the world of Australian Meta-State espionage—a world that most thriller readers know nothing about.  Jack Reardon, a mixed-race former SAS soldier, and Australian state agent is undercover when he is revealed to be a spy and put in a torture shack with notorious assassin Ethan Blade.  This is a stunningly original Thriller novel. The timeline moves back and forth with each chapter keeping the reader in suspense, aching to find out how the relationship between Reardon and Blade develops, and who exactly the bad guy is! 

Once Upon a Haunted Moor by Harper Fox

This novel is set in deepest, darkest Cornwall in a village on the edge of Bodmin Moor.  Gideon Frayne, the closeted village policeman, is faced with a troubling case of a missing child.  Cornish myths and legends intertwine with the mystery, and when Gideon’s boss sends in a TV psychic Lee Tyack to help with the investigation Gideon finds he is challenged, not only to find the child but to come to terms with his attraction to Lee.  This is an atmospheric, suspenseful mystery that will not only deliver a great deal of ‘edge of the seat’ thrills but a satisfying romance too.

Pretty Pretty Boys by Gregory Ashe

After losing his job as a Detective in St Louis, Emery Hazard returns to his home town of Wahredua, Missouri as a failure and finds a job on the local police force.  He is partnered with John-Henry Somerset, a man he knows intimately.  The two men were at school together and in fact, Somerset was Hazard’s school bully and the object of his secret teenage crush.  But the events from the past that made Emery Hazard leave Wahredua in the first place simmer under the surface and everything begins and ends with his secret love of the man he should hate, John-Henry Somerset.  This gay fiction police procedural series is far too complex a story to deliver romance at the start. We are playing the long game with this series and the character development and wonderfully woven mysteries make the eventual romance explosively potent.

About the Author:

Isobel Starling is an Irish, international best-selling, award-winning author.  She writes Gay Romance thriller series Shatterproof Bond, The Quiet Work fantasy series, and the Resurrectionist historical romance series.  A former professional artist for 17 years, Isobel not only writes but designs her book covers.  She lives beside a twelfth-century church in York, UK, surrounded by inspirational history, and idyllic countryside.

Connect with Isobel:




Instagram: @isobel_starling

Twitter: @isobel_starling

Powder Burns by Isobel Starling, out now!

After a series of terrorist attacks on fracking sites owned by a Gas multinational named Drilsink, Sir James Aiken’s agency is bought in to find the radical Eco-terrorist group responsible. He sends Sam and Declan to work undercover at Imperial College where Intel suggests the group are recruiting. While Sam works behind the scenes, Declan takes on the identity of Geologist Dr. Tobias Hunter and soon makes an enemy of a fellow science geek- a man who Declan comes to despise more than Sir James Aiken!

When the operation moves from London to Munich and then Vienna, Sam, and Declan are thrown headlong into a spy scenario straight out of the thriller novels they love to read—but with a distinct and disturbing sexual twist! Sam meets an old friend and uncovers shocking information about James’ past.

With Erik Madsson still imprisoned inside the A.L.L. HQ, James comes to realize that he should have listened to his son. Keeping the enemy inside his own home is about to be the biggest mistake he has ever made.

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